Japanese manga is an international rage, although it really only started gaining a sizeable western following in the 90s and especially the 00s. Manga is of course japanese comic books for all intents and purposes, but much like american comics or Belgium comics each have a particular set of styles and tropes manga has its own particular styles and tropes which are vast, as it’s an enormous industry with a long history.
However far you wish to trace back manga (if you want to get really serious you’d go back to the 1800s) there is no question that modern manga owes an enormous milestone to the year 1959. In 1959 two giants of the manga industry were formed which during the atompunk years of the 60s and 70s would shape the face of manga ineligibly.
Shonen Magazine and Weekly Shonen Sunday were both formed in 1959. They featured numerous stories by numerous writers and artists who would go on to achieve legendary status. Many of the stories were episodic and could serialize for years (although up until 2000, 40 issues was the longest any any story ran).
For the record, the word shonen means “few years” and refers to a boy of school going age. In this the Shonen mags are of the same tradition (though different culture) as those victorian era boys magazines which featuring wild adventure stories for boys that also grew into science ficiton stories as the 20th century progressed. Now of course manga is wildly read by girls, equally so i would say, and covers an enormous range of genres.
My job on this fine day is not to run through the series, characters or the artists who contributed to these magazines. What i wish is to feature the covers for these magazines which ran during the 1960s, because these covers are batshit awesome. They are atompunk on steroids as only the japanese could do.